August 2014

Flashback, 2009: Bet Me

August 26, 2014, OTTAWA — Working on a review (coming very soon!) of the delightful romantic comedy, Austenland, I wanted to reference a book I read a few years ago called Bet Me. And soon realized I never did post what I wrote about it here.

It's a slight thing, I suppose, but I remember the book better than most and stand by my appreciation of it. Click here to read it.


Blogging Doctor Who, New Series 8



Deep Breath:

Moffat's misogyny holds on


Image: The TARDIS lands by the River Thames outside of Parliament buildings in 19th Century London. Screenshot from 'Deep Breath'.

August 24, 2014, OTTAWA — How soon we forget ...

Doctor Who is blessed with a remarkable fandom.

Way back on the 12th of July, a black-and-white "screener" of the 8th series premiere, "Deep Breath" was released onto file-sharing sites, following a similar surreptitious (and — need I add? — thoroughly reprehensible!) release of the scripts of the first five episodes the week before. The Scot was out of the kilt, as it were, and anyone who wanted to could easily download a copy.

And yet, those of us who did encounter the samizdat seemed all to subscribe to a gentlefen's agreement that there would be no spoiling for those who preferred to wait for the final product in all its CGI glory. (At worst, some critics might have taken advantage of the incident to draft his (or her!) review ahead of time.)

Though I read a number of Who-related feeds, I didn't come across any unofficial spoilers, not even after the episode was aired in a number of movie theatres around the world. (I didn't look hard, but the point is, one would have had to look to be spoiled.)

Now, finally, the official broadcast is history and we're free to discuss that for which we've been waiting the better part of a year: a new season and a brand-new (if almost elderly) Doctor.

Was it worth it?

If you're able to forgive or justify its internal inconsistencies, tawdry fan-service, cheap laughs and a misogynist streak that holds on like a mysterious infection laughing at ever-stronger doses of antibiotics, well then, yes, I don't doubt for you it was.

If, on the other hand, you were hoping against hope for a story whose details and characterizations made sense and for a climax that didn't take from the show's companion every bit of agency she had, you will have been as disappointed as I was.

Read more/don't read more, it's up to you. But don't say I didn't warn you! In the world according to Steven Moffat, a woman without a man to tell her what to do is nothing ...


Some brief thoughts on Michael Brown

Mansplaining, group-think and the need

To my big mouth shut while on duty

Originally posted on Facebook wall, 16 August, 2014.

Sweet Jesus. Having to keep quiet while two (white, male) pilots mansplain the Micheal Brown killing and subsequent riots to their (black, female) flight attendant was 20 minutes of psychological torture for an opinionated Young Geoffrey.

Horribly fascinating, though, to learn that even the flight attendant mostly accepted the dominant media narrative.

That Michael Brown DID jostle people and steal the cigars. That the riots were ONLY riots.

No mention of peaceful protests. Police over-reaction only admitted in reference to press being tear-gassed and in context that everyone (whatever gender, colour, creed) would be wise to shut up and obey when confronted by cops. Couldn't help but think of comments about what rape-victim was wearing.

The flight attendant did, tentatively, hint at systemic issues but agreed that, of course, no one knew exactly what had happened in this case. (But again, all three believed that Brown stole the cigars. No one asked why that 'fact' only came out yesterday.)

Customer service can be another kind of hell. But not nearly the hell that must exist in the hearts and minds of the people of Ferguson, Missouri.


Falling in love, with concrete and stone

Young Geoffrey re-visits San Francisco

Image: San Francisco, seen from Lombard Street
San Francisco, seen from the top of Lombard Street.

August 17, 2014, OTTAWA — How soon we forget ...

Or maybe not that soon. I first visited San Francisco as a callow youth, just entered my 20s. I drove there with a friend, switching off driving my 18 year-old Volkswagen microbus ("transporter", as the manual had it).

That was too close to 30 years ago for me to want to remember. And I fell in love with the city then.

This summer — a couple of weeks ago, in fact — I returned for the first time. As so often happens, time softens memory's details, replacing sensations and feelings with mere words.

Would the San Francisco I encountered at the age of 49 still be the beauty I remembered from my youthful fling, or would I find only flaws and reasons to mock my own, younger, self?

Short answer: I fell in love all over again. For the longer answer, click here.


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